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Game 13 Preview: 04/19 Padres @ Cubs

David Banks/Getty Images

Today's series finale between the Padres and Cubs has rubber-match status, as the visiting Friars triumphed on Friday before falling in extra innings yesterday afternoon. Even though they ultimately lost on a walk-off single in the eleventh, the Padres put on a demonstration of what us fans and the rest of the league should expect this year. Down 6-2 heading into the ninth inning, they clawed their way back to force the aforementioned extra innings. It's such a good feeling to know that no deficit is insurmountable. That contagious tenacity will be on display again as Andrew Cashner takes the mound this morning.

This will be Cashner's fifth time facing his former team and his first time in over a year and a half. He made two single-inning relief appearances -- giving up one earned run each time -- at Wrigley Field in 2012, then returned as a starter the next year. He lasted just just four innings, surrendering five runs (four earned) on six hits. Cashner fared better in his most recent start against Chicago, at Petco Park back on August 25, 2013. He allowed no runs on two hits while striking out seven batters over seven full innings, but took a no-decision. Overall, he has a 4.15 ERA with nine strikeouts in the small sample size of 13 innings, and has yet to allow a home run.

Speaking of small sample sizes and an ERA north of 4, that brings us to Cashner's numbers this year. He had a rough first start, allowing five earned runs on eight hits (including three homers) and three walks over five innings to the dreaded Dodgers back on April 8. Cash did better in his second start, against Arizona last Monday. He allowed no earned runs, but four unearned ones came back to bite him and saddle him with his second loss, which, as always, is a completely meaningless stat. In his two starts, the mulleted one has allowed 15 hits and four walks in 11 innings while striking out 15 batters.

The tall Texan has faced nine batters on the Cubs' current roster:

Welington Castillo: 1-3, K
Starlin Castro: 2-7, 2 RBI
Chris Coghlan: 1-1
Chris Denorfia: 2-4
Dexter Fowler: 4-9, HR, 2 RBI, BB, K
Jonathan Herrera: 0-1, RBI, SF
Miguel Montero: 4-19, HR, RBI, 4 BB, 6 K
Anthony Rizzo: 2-7, 2 K
David Ross: 0-0, BB

Cashner's counterpart, Jon Lester, has also had a bit of a rough start to the season. On Opening Day, he allowed three earned runs on eight hits and a pair of free passes in just four-and-a-third innings. His next time out, he lasted six full innings, but got knocked for six earned runs on ten hits. This was also the game in which he attempted throwing over to first base for the first time in 66 starts; he threw over twice, and it did not go well. All told, his ERA now sits at 7.84 after just 10.1 innings.

Lester has faced the Padres once before, back in his Red Sox days. Of the batters he faced back on July 3, 2013, only Alexi Amarista remains. Li'l Ninja was 0-3 against Lester, who allowed one earned run on four singles and doubles by Carlos Quentin and Yasmani Grandal over seven innings. He took a no-decision, as he left with the game tied at ones.

Along with Amarista, Lester has faced a few current Friars back when they were in other uniforms.

Clint Barmes: 0-1, BB, K
Wil Myers: 2-6, 2B, HR, RBI, K
Wil Nieves: 1-4, 2 K
Derek Norris: 1-7, HR, RBI, 5 BB
Yangervis Solarte: 0-8, HBP, 4 K
Justin Upton: 5-7, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, K

It's worth noting that Derek Norris is much more familiar with Lester's stuff than he was the last time he stepped in against him. The two were battery-mates for the latter part of last season after Lester was traded from Boston to Oakland. And while Justin Upton has had an overwhelming deal of success against Lester, he might miss out on adding to those numbers, as he is day-to-day with a strained quad.